The ACT Government has committed to a major change to the Canberra Institute of Technology, potentially selling off the Woden campus and developing a new campus in Tuggeranong to meet demand for training and vocational education.
As part of the education budget delivered on Tuesday, ACT Education Minister Joy Burch announced the Government was going ahead with plans to develop a campus modernisation strategy for the CIT, including a major new investment in Tuggeranong.
Treasurer Andrew Barr said the project had been brought forward to help buffer the ACT against Commonwealth cutbacks. But the Budget allocation for the project remains confidential while the Government seeks tenders for the job.
Ms Burch said "this is about unlocking resources, particularly around land value of the Woden CIT campus and reinvesting that money into Tuggeranong and within education and training more widely".
Population census figures from CIT show that Tuggeranong provides the second largest share of students after Belconnen – at 2975 compared with 3480. Woden Valley meanwhile, contributes just 1112 students and south Canberra just 720.
Ms Burch noted the Government would maintain a vocational education presence in Woden and had not ruled out selling off the entire campus.
The location of the new Tuggeranong campus had been floated in the Lake Tuggeranong carpark but Ms Burch said all options were on the table. She said ideally the procurement process would begin next year.
Meanwhile, CIT will receive $2.4 million worth of upgrades and improvements across its Ried, Bruce and Fyshwick campuses with $94,000 to go towards asbestos removal across the Reid and Bruce campuses, $260,000 for improved disability acess at Reid, and $300,000 to improve signage across all campuses.
The education budget contained few surprises or new initiatives, building instead on existing programs to meet demand for information technology upgrades across schools and increase training for childcare workers.
With a total public education budget of $566.9 million this financial year, the Government will spend $82.2 million on improving physical and IT infrastructure in government schools and $59.1 million on enabling similar improvements across the non-government school sector.
$9.2 million has been allocated to IT upgrades including the expansion of wireless access points in government schools as part of the "Digital Canberra" initiative.
The Early Childhood Scholarship Program for Certificate III in Children's Services will receive a $500,000 extension to assist the industry meet national standards while $545,000 will go to help the ACT implement the National Quality Framework in early education and childcare.
Belconnen High School will receive a $250,000 grant to continue its modernisation program. The money will allow for Stage 1 works including demolition, and completion of the master plan.
$1.4 million will go to upgrade childcare facilities at the Bunyarra Childcare Centre in Chisholm and Salem Childcare Centre in Kambah.
The previously announced new primary school for Coombs and Wright will receive $29,840,000 of its $47 million price tag this financial year, while Canberra College Cares will receive $9 million for its $14 million new building at the Phillip campus.
Education at a glance
- CIT to open a new campus in Tuggeranong to meet training and vocational education demand.
- $82.2 million on improving physical and IT infrastructure in government schools and $59.1 million for non-government schools.
- $1.4 million to upgrade childcare facilities in Chisholm and Kambah